Mental health team based in Norwich hospital expands

PUBLISHED: 16:58 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:58 16 May 2018

Jenny Thurston, Matron & Head of Clinical Practice, NSFT Mental Health Liaison Service at NNUH. Photo: NSFT

Jenny Thurston, Matron & Head of Clinical Practice, NSFT Mental Health Liaison Service at NNUH. Photo: NSFT


A specialist team from the region’s mental health trust which helps people at hospital is now able to offer faster help to more patients after the service more than doubled in size.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s (NSFT) mental health liaison service, based as the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, has increased its staffing from 13 to almost 30.

The team is responsible for assessing patients with mental health problems who come to hospital with physical health needs. Their aim is to see patients quickly so that they can either return home safely, be referred onto other NSFT services or receive the right support for their mental health needs during an admission for a physical health problem.

Jenny Thuston, matron and head of clinical practice for the team, said: “We offer mental health assessments, brief intervention and treatment for patients who are experiencing mental health difficulties within the acute hospital.

“We are also heavily involved in the training and education of Norfolk and Norwich staff, including at induction, and we promote the mental health and wellbeing of their staff.

“The mental health liaison service is a developing team and a fabulous group of people to work with, and I can only see the team growing.

“Going forward, I want the team to focus more on qualitative improvements in addition to achieving the key performance indicators.”

The announcement comes during national Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from May 14 to 20.

Antek Lejk, NSFT chief executive, said: “The service provides patients with safe, high quality and responsive care, and this closer partnership working is vital to ensuring people are seen in the whole and that their mental health as well as their physical health needs can be supported immediately.

The expansion will enable the team of nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and assistant practitioners to continue providing 24-hour cover across the hospital while also managing increasing demand. In addition, it will ensure they can respond to referrals from the emergency department within one hour, in line with national guidance.

Amy Eagle, operational director for women’s and children’s division and NNUH mental health lead said: “Treating patients’ physical health and mental health together is really important, and the expansion of the service will be of massive benefit to the local community needing this joined up service.”

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